years ago, I took on the position of a humble valet/jungle gym/plaything to Master Footloose (seen above, on your left). In preparation for the job, I read many books, watched many videos, and interviewed other experienced servants who had maintained similar positions over the years. Prior to the actual start date of employment, I felt well prepared for any demands or expectations on the young master’s part.
Then he arrived.
The learning curve was far steeper and more precipitous than I could ever have actually prepared for. 24 hour on-call service, bi-hourly feedings, seemingly never-ending shouting when I failed to respond in a timely fashion, or misinterpreted his needs. Constant outfit changes due to soiling. So, so little sleep.
Still, after a year of on-the-job training that can only be described as “hellish”, the young Master and I got into a rhythm. I had become so attuned to his needs and desires that we seemed to be sharing one mind. We had developed a system that was nearly flawless in execution, and I finally allowed myself to believe that I might be worthy of the position that had been bestowed upon me.
And then Master Roundbottom (seen above, on your right) arrived.
I’d be lying if I said that I had even considered taking on another master at that time. All of my time and energies were focused on Footloose, and I didn’t expect that I would be able to give much more than I already was. Still, the great Lady Angel (she of the glorious smile and bun-filled oven) made it clear that whether I was ready or not, my duties were about to double.
Fair enough. I was an experienced manservant at this point. How hard could it be?
If I could go back in time and beat myself senseless, I would.
All of my experience proved useless. Roundbottom was a completely, wholly different creature than Footloose. When Footloose wanted to sleep, Roundbottom wanted to play. When Footloose wanted to play, Roundbottom wanted to eat. While the elder was perfectly happy entertaining himself, the younger DEMANDED constant attention. The only thing that they did seem to want to do in unison was soil themselves. In fact, I would go so far as to speculate that the act of soiling themselves became the very first in a constant, never-ending series of competitions designed to prove who was truly Master of the House.
All I know is it isn’t me.
Which brings me to you, dear reader. Partly as a means of release, but mostly for the sake of history, I will be using this page to regale you with the ongoing adventures of the young Lords of Disorder. There will be laughs. There will be tears. There will be head-shaking and more than a little bit of alcohol consumed in the attempt to cope with two young men who have become the center of my universe, if not the universe entire.
I can promise you no answers. I will never profess to be any kind of expert on the exercise knows as “parenting”. All I can promise you is this; there is no judgment here as we are all of us simply trying to do our best to serve those under our charge. Furthermore, I guarantee that after you sample our misadventures, you’re going to feel a WHOLE LOT BETTER about the job you’re doing.
Let the games begin.
You can follow the journey through Instagram at fatherhood_in_the_trenches or twitter @jmwilson3055. Let’s face it, I’m gonna need all the help I can get.